Prelude: Hiruma Shonogen

The Emerald Empire of Rokugan. It is a land upheld by honor, guided by fate, ruled by destiny. The Great Clans each support the Emperor, but inter-clan conflict is inevitable—both in the Emperor’s courts and on the battlefield. In the midst of danger and turmoil, honor must be your sword and your armor.

It is an era of sudden change and upheaval in the Emerald Empire. Mortal schemes, elemental imbalances, and celestial turmoil have disrupted the political, military, and spiritual equilibrium of Rokugan. Long-simmering rivalries and fresh betrayals ripple through the courts and on the battlefield. The Chrysanthemum Throne is beset by threats from without and within, and the honor of the seven Great Clans shall be put to the test.
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Prelude: Hiruma Shonogen

Post by Vardaen » Fri Jun 07, 2019 6:45 pm

Image "Dripping water can eat through a stone." - The Tao of Shinsei

The Emerald Empire of Rokugan. It is a land upheld by honor, guided by fate, ruled by destiny. The Great Clans each support the Emperor, but inter-clan conflict is inevitable—both in the Emperor’s courts and on the battlefield. In the midst of danger and turmoil, honor must be your sword and your armor.

From the Shadowlands in the south to the Burning Sands in the north, from the Twilight Mountains in the west to the Islands of Spice and Silk in the east, Rokugan, the Emerald Empire, has stood for over one thousand years thanks to the seven Great Clans who serve the Emperor. As guardians and politicians, each clan fulfills their role in society and are as varied as they are powerful. But all are bound by the same code of honor, the way of the warrior, the code of Bushido. Honor is valued above all else, and a misspoken remark can be just as fatal as an enemy’s blade.
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Kōnotori Mura : White Stork Village

Just another farming and fishing village in the southern Crane lands, Kōnotori Mura, is a pleasant, if not simple, place to be. The village is pleasantly arranged, each house placed just so by a Crane civil planner, as if it was a a piece of ikebana, the Rokugani art of flower arranging. Peasants work the rice fields that spread out around the village for many li. They work with vigor and songs on their lips that help them to keep time as they plant and harvest throughout their lives. The village has a small wharf area with a few floating docks, fishing boats, and a thriving beach side community of fisher folks.

White Stork Village takes its name from the many white storks that migrate through each summer from their breeding grounds in the nearby Uebi Marshes to the west on their way to the south east Isles of Spice and Silk. There among the so called Mantis Clan the storks winter. A large garden, placed just so among the arrangement, is set to invite the storks with dogwoods and lilies. They say it is good fortune if a stork takes notice of you along its flight. The height of Crane fashion will often bear a feather from White Stork Village.

Three roads come into White Stork Village, each one leaving by a cardinal direction North, South or West. Travelers pass through the village daily on their way to other places. Only a rare few come here for the village itself. Some come to visit the garden when the storks are present, others to visit the small Shrine of the Sebun Ronin. All visitors end up at the Cresting Wave Sake House, the only such establishment in town where travelers can get a meal and room.

It is the Month of the Rooster, as the peasants view the calendar. Summer is fading, autumn is coming, the rains will start soon. The storks are nearing the end of their migration, yet many are still found in the garden and waters off the coast of Kōnotori Mura and so too are travelers. Tax season has begun as the rice harvest is starting. Many reasons have brought many souls to this small village, some may call it fate, or fortune, or kharma, whatever the purpose, small ripples have begun to spread across the surface of the water.
This is the second thread of the intro threads and will be for Orvost / Hiruma Shonogen please wait for another post from me before you join in.
"He that breaks a thing to find out what it is has left the path of wisdom." - Gandalf
J.R.R. Tolkien, Council of Elrond, The Fellowship of the Ring

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Prelude: Hiruma Shonogen

Post by Vardaen » Mon Jun 10, 2019 6:03 pm

Having arrived in the small village yesterday a pair of Crab Samurai are among the many visitors to White Stork Village. The road north winds away through the Crane lands, through the Spine of the World Mountains and even past the Imperial Capital all the way to the lands of the Phoenix. Returning home after a long time away from home Hiruma Shonogen is accompanied by his grandfather Yasuki Yoshito. The venerable old Yasuki was the only member of Shonogen's family to attend his gempukku in the Shiba Yojimbo School in Shiro Shiba. The whole affair rather different for a Crab.

The two will eventually turn west and head for home once Yoshito has finished his walk down memory lane. The two have a simple room purchased here for the next few day, its the finest room in the Inn, but still is rather simple as the hiemin woman that runs the place doesn't go in for all the Crane flourishes even here in Crane lands.

The Cresting Wave is as much a sake house as it is an inn. Every traveler passing through town stops here, its the best place for sake, a meal, and a private room to spend the night in. The place is nearly fully booked at this time of year. Fresh flowers sit on the table, delicately arranged, one of Shiokarai's few embellishments within the place. The others are a few musical instruments hung in one corner of the common room: available for use by any paying customer. A half dozen other travelers are scattered about the room.

Seated now in the Cresting Wave Inn the old man smiles at his grandson as he pushes his glasses up from the tip of his nose, "Have I told you the story of my first visit here mago-chun?" He has told Hiruma Shonogen the tale about five time on the journey, but its hard to deny him the tale.
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Yasuki Yoshito
Welcome Orvost the game as Hiruma Shonogen. You should intro post your character. Watch for a PM.
"He that breaks a thing to find out what it is has left the path of wisdom." - Gandalf
J.R.R. Tolkien, Council of Elrond, The Fellowship of the Ring

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Prelude: Hiruma Shonogen

Post by Orvost » Tue Jun 11, 2019 9:54 am

Hiruma Shonogen sits next to his grandfather and waits for the inn matron to return with something to drink. The ache in his body is not from the long road, but from the weight and harness of his armor. Ever since they left Shiro Shiba, Shonogen has worn his new suit of armor to break it in, make adjustments, and get used to wearing it in his professional capacity. He is also getting used to wearing a full daisho and still must think of, and adjust, end of his long saya when he turns his body or sits down. He is all the more mindful of his katana because it is a wondrous piece of craftsmanship bestowed upon him by his grandfather, and he doesn’t wish his grandfather to see him treat the sword with anything less than the reverence such a weapon deserves.
Urusai was made using a strange forging method taken from the burning sands; the blade has a strange, shifting, serpentine pattern in it (damascus steel). Aside from the black tendraled pattern, the steel almost glows blue. The tsuba has the carp and flower pattern of the Yasuki family mon. The handle and saya are carved narwhale ivory with interwoven blue silk and inlaid red mahogany.
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When his grandfather prepares to tell his story, Shonogen smiles and answers truthfully:
“Hai, Grandfather, you have told me about your first visit here, but I would like to hear the tale again, if you allow me to…”

Shonogen doesn’t finish the thought. Instead, he goes over to the musical instruments in the corner of the inn and returns with a simple block flute. He tests the sound, finds a few notes by testing the holes, and prepares to add a little dramatic flourish to his grandfather’s story with some musical accompaniment. Nothing fancy, just a note scale up to convey happiness, a note scale down to convey tension or sadness. Since he has heard the story before, Shonogen already knows where to interject with a few notes.
I have no skill with flute, but my raw agility should get me through a simple performance.
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Prelude: Hiruma Shonogen

Post by Vardaen » Tue Jun 11, 2019 3:05 pm

The old man smiles, and takes a sip of his tea as it is brought out. "Well it was years ago, I was but a young man hardly older than you are now." The tale is always the same, he may have forgotten he's told the tale, but he remembers the tale itself well enough. "I came to Kōnotori Mura on business for the clan. It was some sort of trade negotiation with the Doji. I was just an apprentice at the time, Yasuki Harukishimi was in charge. She was a harsh woman, too bound up in duty and honor to the point of being worried about it all the time. Anyhow, we came to the village at the height of the stork migration, it was beautiful." The flute rises here knowing what's coming. "The flock was like a snow storm of grace and loveliness, if you weren't standing directly under them." He chuckles at the lurid insinuation. He clears his throat, "I think this haiku sums it up."

Snow white swooping down
Clouds that never rain or melt
The storks were beauty


He smiles and sips, the poem will never win him any contest that's for certain. "I managed to get away and into the garden, and there she was, the loveliest woman I had ever seen. She was Crane of course, Asahina Kaori, her hair died to match the birds, she wore feathers in her hair. She could speak to the kami, and tended the garden and the birds in a way few others could. It was a whirlwind love affair." He lowers his head, "That is what I would like to believe, but in truth we were together for all of two days. Simply being near to one another was something magical. We spoke rarely, the beauty and comfort was just being with each other among the birds."

He sighs, "Duty demanded we part, Harukishimi-sama was demanding, and we eventually moved on and I married your grandmother as the clan required. I never saw Kaori-chan again, but I have come back here time and again hoping to see her once more but she has never been here. No one could ever tell me what be came of her, but I hold out hope that some day, some day the Fortunes will see fit to grant me one more moment with her in the garden." He then sinks into a melancholy, as always, and grows silent for a long while and won't climb out of this for some time.
"He that breaks a thing to find out what it is has left the path of wisdom." - Gandalf
J.R.R. Tolkien, Council of Elrond, The Fellowship of the Ring

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Prelude: Hiruma Shonogen

Post by Orvost » Tue Jun 11, 2019 7:22 pm

Shonogen plays a final, drawn-out note at the end of the story. He puts the flute down and sits awkwardly. He questions his decision to play the flute since both music and story ended on a sad note and he may have only contributed to his grandfather’s melancholy. He looks at his grandfather with compassion, knowing the old man had suffered and sacrificed for the high demands placed upon him by Clan and lord, as real as a wound received on the field of honor that still aches many years later.

After a few moments of silence, Shonogen speaks up:

“I am proud of you, Grandfather. You chose duty over love. You chose correctly. The world has enough sappy pillow books and poorly-written plays about samurai who made the other choice to their doom. I am glad your story didn’t join theirs. Besides …”

He leans in closer and speaks in a low, conspiratorial voice considering where they are:

“Crane blood carries a curse. If you cross the family line too often with the Crane, you end up with blue-eyed children with vision problems who are prone to falling fits. I’d sooner take my chances marrying a Yogo.”

Shonogen immediately regrets saying the last part. When the time comes for his family to find him a match, his grandfather’s voice will probably carry the most weight.

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Prelude: Shonogen & Ryoko

Post by Vardaen » Wed Jun 12, 2019 6:35 pm

The old man chuckles a bit at the mention of the Yogo. "Careful what you wish for Shonogen, the clout of the Scorpion seems to be growing, it could be a good match with them and you." He can't be pulled from the melancholy so easily. He stands up, "I think I will take a little walk, get some air. I'll find you later, enjoy yourself without an old man bringing you down." He orders a bottle of sake from the serving girl and drops a few coins on the table.

He stands and takes a steps toward the door. Then as he is head out, a young Crane woman enters the Inn.

The two nearly bump into one another as they use the door nearly at the same time.

The Cresting Wave is as much a sake house as it is an inn. Every traveler passing through town stops here, its the best place for sake, a meal, and a private room to spend the night in. The place is nearly fully booked at this time of year. Fresh flowers sit on the table, delicately arranged, one of Shiokarai's few embellishments within the place. The others are a few musical instruments hung in one corner of the common room: available for use by any paying customer. A half dozen other travelers are scattered about the room including a Crab holding a long flute.

The Crane woman is greeted by the woman Shiokarai, "Two rooms? No no no I can't do two rooms. We are nearly fully booked, are you sure you can't share a room?"
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Thread Arriving From: viewtopic.php?f=1012&t=9323&p=363772#p363772

Welcome Kakita Ryoko into this thread.
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Prelude: Shonogen & Ryoko

Post by Orvost » Thu Jun 13, 2019 8:03 pm

Shonogen watches his grandfather leave and thinks about what he should do. The old man wants to get drunk and nurse his sorrows alone, but Shonogen doesn't want to lose track of his charge. The old man is probably headed to a specific, stork-filled garden to reminisce. As long as Shonogen knows his location, he can be at ease knowing his grandfather is unlikely to find trouble in Crane lands.

Still, Shonogen watches until he can no longer see his grandfather, then he gets up from his table and watches his grandfather from outside the inn until his grandfather is out of site again. Then, somewhat reluctantly, Shonogen goes back inside the inn and listens to the conversation between the innkeeper and Crane woman.

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Prelude: Shonogen & Ryoko

Post by Muskrat » Thu Jun 13, 2019 8:52 pm

Ryoko mentally shrugs. She doesn't care much about appearances and trusts Korino to keep his hands to himself. However, Korino does care about propriety--a man in his station has to. She tells the inn-keeper firmly, "Two rooms. I am in the service of an important magistrate and he will expect, as matter of propriety, that we have separate rooms. If you have to, make some of your heimin customers share a room."

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Prelude: Shonogen & Ryoko

Post by Vardaen » Thu Jun 20, 2019 1:50 pm

Shiokanai bows to Ryoko, "Yes Crane-sama, I shall find room for your request, my apologizes." She says the right words, but you can see on her face a bit of saltiness at being told how to run her establishment. "If you like, please sit, I will bring you some tea, on the house, for your troubles. Unfortunately you may have to share a table." She bows, and looks at Shonogen, "Unless our Crab friend and his grandfather are finished there?"

Most of the common room is filled up, there are all sorts of people present, a dozen hiemin, merchants mostly, as the farmers are busy in the fields at this hour, but there are others, a few ronin, a few Crane, a few who bear the mon of a minor Mantis clan, even another Crab. Everyone is busy with their own activities, and the tables are generally full, save for the one Shonogen and Yoshito were sitting at.

In one corner of the inn a collection of instruments are neatly laid out for any one that may be interested in using them. A flute lays on Shonogen's table, recently used, but not returned to the collection yet.
"He that breaks a thing to find out what it is has left the path of wisdom." - Gandalf
J.R.R. Tolkien, Council of Elrond, The Fellowship of the Ring

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Prelude: Shonogen & Ryoko

Post by Muskrat » Thu Jun 20, 2019 5:42 pm

Ryoko doesn't care about Shiokani's attitude--she doesn't care that much about such formalities and can imagine she is causing some inconvenience to the inn-keeper. She simply says, "Thank you," and in a voice showing a hint of amusement, "Yes, a shared table is fine."

She walks up to Shonogen, bows, and says, "Greetings. I am Kakita Ryoko. May I join you? You seem to have the only open space here." Once she sits down, she gestures at the flute and asks, "Do you play?"

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